Tag Archives: deeplocal

New Short Code (25252) for Locally Toned

Locally Toned is transferring to a new short code–25252. Yippee!

The new short code works much better! The old short code, 79649 (which seemed to be causing some trouble, even for my phone), will be discontinued/obsolete in a few days. So stop using it. NOW.

What is short code? It is used as part of a method to deliver ringtones directly to cell phones, via MMS (multi media messaging). It’s one of the ways folks may send/issue requests to Locally Toned to have ringtones sent right back to their very own cell phones. You may have noticed it on the backs of project art cards and on the Locally Toned (ringtone) distribution site, in sentences like this:  “Text TONES 231 to 25252 to get this tone sent to your phone.”

Mucho thanks to deeplocal for today’s technical upgrade, with special thanks to their CTO David Evans, who maneuvered that big switch today. Dave also made some adjustments on the back end of the Locally Toned site to allow mp3s to be sent directly to iPhones (he wanted one tone in particular for his iPhone).

Please note that if you’re an iPhone user, you’ll still need to convert the files to the m4r format–a recipe for that is here.

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The deeplocal (Elevator Beep) Tone and Message Alert

The Crew at deeplocal (the picture Dave wanted me to take)

Meet deeplocal–from L-R, Eamae, Dimitry, Nathan, Matt, Dave (face to wall), Heather and Zack. [Side note–their crew has since been refreshed since I attended this December Waffle Wednesday to take these photos. You can check out their expanding posse here.] If you’re in Pittsburgh on the right Wednesday morning, you should definitely pop in for “free consulting and gourmet waffles”–the next one is February 17, 2010 from 9-11am.

A December Waffle Wednesday Guest

Nathan Martin Visits with Another Waffle Wednesday Guest

It’s about time I got around to publishing this tone! After all, deeplocal hosted me as an artist in residence for 4 months last year, and has graciously granted me Artist in Residence Emeritus status to continue developing Locally Toned. Nathan Martin, CEO of deeplocal came up with idea for the Old and New Media Residency Program. He then invited Encyclopedia Destructica to co-host the program, “created to promote an exchange of ideas, skills, and networks by placing an artist in both a contemporary art production setting and a working corporate setting.” I hear-tell they’ve already identified their next resident artist–but I won’t say anything further about that…yet.

The deeplocal tone consists of a recording of what it sounds like getting on up to their top-floor headquarters in the Liberty Bank Building (in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh). It’s a distinctive sound, the deeplocal (Elevator Beep) Tone.

If you liked that, you’re surely going to dig the short and jarring deeplocal (Elevator Beep) Message Alert.

The deeplocal Portrait I wanted to Take

Thanks, deeplocal folk, for all the time, energy, work and good will you’ve put towards this public art/ringtone creation project, and thanks also for keeping me on Emeritus-like so I can continue working on the project!

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Locally Toned Mentioned in Contagious Magazine, Issue #21

More good news for Locally Toned! Mention of this original ringtone creation project appeared in Contagious Magazine in an opinion piece called “GutterTech: Squinting at Technology” by Nathan Martin, CEO of deeplocal (one of this project’s Old and New Media residency co-hosts).

Contagious (out of London, England) describes itself as a “magazine, DVD and online resource, covering topics such as: branded content; mobile marketing; social networking; user-generated content; word of mouth; viral; interactive; blogs; video games; retail initiatives; design innovations and emerging technologies.”

How’d Nathan Martin get invited to pen an opinion piece for the journal/consulting resource?

In October of 2009, deeplocal/Standard Robot‘s the Nike Chalkbot made the cover of Contagious Magazine. And in December of 2009, the Chalkbot made the magazine’s “Most Contagious 2009” list.

What’s the Chalkbot? A robotic chalking mechanism that receives, processes, prints, captures and delivers data (text, GPS coordinates and photographs). Both deeplocal and Standard Robot worked with Nike’s agency, Wieden+Kennedy, to design and develop the pneumatic robot and software system for Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong campaign/foundation during the 2009 Tour de France. Armstrong’s foundation helps raise awareness, fund research and end the stigma about cancer that many survivors face.

There was also a good deal of online conversation about the Chalkbot coming from artist/activists. It’s worth sharing that info, too, as I’m very interested in how a work is perceived by its many audiences (I’ll be writing my next post about a shift in perspective about Locally Toned that was afforded to me by Martin’s opinion piece appearing in Contagious).

The Chalkbot is similar to contemporary artist/activist projects like GrafittiWriter and StreetWriter by the Institute for Applied Autonomy and BikesAgainstBush by Josh Kinberg.

If you’re interested in reading some of the non-corporate news about the Chalkbot, read IAA’s press release which states that, “The Nike Chalkbot is nearly identical to the ‘Streetwriter’ we began developing ten years ago.” Or click that BikesAgainstBush link (above) to read about Kinberg’s project and the story he tells leading up to his opinion: “What’s really important is the particular context and action in which the device is used that really makes the statement. In these three cases you have the DARPA Challenge (IAA), the 2004 Republican National Convention protests in NYC (BikesAgainstBush), and the 2009 Tour De France / Livestrong Campaign (Chalkbot).”

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G20 Ringtone Workshop at Carnegie Mellon University


Meet Liz–a sophomore School of Art student at Carnegie Mellon University. I worked with her during my G20 Ringtone Workshop today–showed her an overview of using the Phone-in-a-Tone line. We tested recording audio at different levels (distances from the audio source to the mic on her phone) and then listened to the tracks she created (via the Locally Toned admin site). As serendipity would have it, Liz had an earlier version of the same phone I have, so it was easy to show her the Record Sound feature on her phone (to give her more audio recording choices out in the field).


I prepared a hand-out for students so they could have portable info out in the field, and shared some Locally Toned art cards (one of the project’s tone distribution methods). The hand-out also covered protocols for sending the project further information about tones recorded in the field and photo specifications for inclusion on the site and the blog. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Liz (and some of her other student ringtone agents) will get back to me with G20 tones.


Thanks to Nathan Martin of deeplocal and Bob Bingham of CMU’s College of Fine Arts for hooking me up with the opportunity to share ringtone making and capturing approaches with students today.

The photos that follow are from The Cut/Fence on CMU’s campus–School of Art students had reserved it to do their protest thing. There is a tradition that students who want to work on the Fence have to camp out–dig some of the visual details from the structure/site built by these students.




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Mobile Ringtone Performance Intervention on 61c

IT'S TRUE:  DIAL 412.837.4028

IT'S TRUE: DIAL 412.837.4028

Just back from my first *Mobile* Ringtone Performance Intervention.  The Kennywood ringtone recording plans with Lori Hepner fell through this morning due to some unforeseeable circumstances, but Kennywood’s agreed to let me reschedule, and I managed, with the last minute help of my friend Chris Ivey to give the “public art on public transportation” performance a try.  I have a new nickname for Chris–I’m going to call him St. Christopher.  Whew!  What a scramble.

St. Christopher

St. Christopher

I’m lucky I had some mint gum, cause other wise Chris mighta gotten motion sickness from looking through the lens and snapping pics of me flipping the sign on the bus.  Thanks to the kind bus driver, Betty Cunningham, for welcoming us on her route this morning.  I didn’t catch the afternoon driver’s name, but he was happy for us to be aboard, too.


The Port Authority Transit gave us VIP bus passes today so we could ride back and forth to Kennywood.  Tim Frank (director of Creative Services for PAT) also made sure I also had a letter of introduction to share with the drivers, if necessary.

Passengers weren’t so sure about what I was doing (they didn’t know I had permission, and it’s something you wouldn’t expect to happen on a bus ride, afterall), but a really nice family of 4 who were headed out to Kennywood nodded when I asked if anybody wanted to hear any ringtones.  The daughter in the family really liked the Horsie Montage Tone, but was kinda scared of the Hobo’s da Man Tone.

On the way back from Kennywood, one lady asked a bunch of questions about the project and took down the phone number for the “phone in a tone” line which has been created by deeplocal.  A gentleman then asked me to remind him of the website address–which, by the way–went live today!  I have loads of tones to upload, but if you go there right now, you can see the incredibly well-thought out and beautifully designed site that deeplocal gents have built to support the “tone bank” and take care of distribution (via MMS–Multimedia Messaging Service).  Sebastian:  you deserve a lot of kudos for all the hours you’ve put in on www.locallytoned.org.


So what else?  I got a little wobbly, too–I have to figure out where to sit and what to look at when I’m flipping the sign; I think I will ask the Port Authority to “perform” in one of the “T” stations at rush hour (so I can stand still with the sign).


I tried sitting in the middle of the bus, the front of the bus (so I could flash the signs at people down the length of the bus who were facing me) and sitting in the back of the bus.  The latter position provided me with a mini-theater where people were much more relaxed about looking at what I was doing (or so it seemed on today’s runs).  I’ll keep these things in mind when I consider my next route and public transport ride.  Thanks very much to the Port Authority for allowing me to promote my mobile phone/public art project on public transport today!


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Tara’s Affirmational Tone


Tara Merenda Nelson enjoys bike commuting and filmmaking.  She’s soon on her way to grad school,  leaving Pittsburgh to move to Boston (sniff!) in August.

Tara has a great sense of humor.  She proposed an affirmational tone, saying she got the idea because of some stories a friend told her about motivational meetings in the workplace.  I liked her “spoken word” idea.  Here’s Tara’s Affirmational Tone.  The perfect audio to SET AS RINGTONE when you need a little uplift.


Tara also had a really great tech idea–what if a person could set their ringtones on shuffle mode so your ringtones would rotate or cycle through?  Great idea.  I will have to mention this idea to Nathan on Friday (my residency day at deeplocal).


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Two Months Into the Project…

Locally Toned Undies

Locally Toned Undies

Two months into the project, and it’s time to pretend that I’m giving a press conference, and I’ve been asked the following questions (which I’ll gladly answer for you down below [well, really and truly, I need to do this for myself to assess what’s happened thus far, and to keep on top of the project]).

Ms. Foley, how does what you proposed to do during the residency, through your public art project Locally Toned, compare to the experience you’ve had actually working on the project these past two months?

When I wrote the proposal, my goal was to work with 25 individuals and capture 25 ringtones in each of the “production” months (May and June).  I had absolutely no idea that I would encounter people who had numerous tones or ideas for ringtones.  Nor did I realize that I’d encounter environments (such as Patusan Farm) so rich with audio possibilities, that I’d be drawn to capture much more than I’d set out to.

This month I posted 21 new ringtones (though I received many more).  I worked with 10 people whom I ended up profiling on the site (12 if you count the first “Missed Oppor-TONE-ity“).  Other ringtone contributors are waiting in the wings.  What I didn’t account for in the proposal was a good estimate of the time it would take to talk with people about the project, to encourage ringtone “idea” submissions from the public, to blog, to negotiate exhibition opportunities, and to work on the website and project design with my residency hosts deeplocal and Encyclopedia Destructica.  I imagined that April was the month to get the word out (do pre-production) and that May and June would be all field recording/production.  There was so much more I needed to do to garner public interest and participation in the project.  A major thing I’ve learned is that I’m spending 50% of my time on promotional/outreach and project “build out” tasks.

Anything else you didn’t forsee?

Yes–two things.  Firstly,”out of the blue” people who’ve heard about the project don’t seem to feel interested in or comfortable with approaching me (a stranger) to make ringtones.  That has surprised me.  Secondly, in my proposal, I didn’t even mentioned the idea of blogging.

So what do you think is up with the participation issue?

Could be that I’m not doing a good job of getting out the call for participation out to the public.  I’ll work on that in June.  It could be that folks have to see what I’m up to before they decide they want to work with me.  As far as I know, I’ve had three or four “out of the blue” people contact me about making ringtones.  One came through a posting for an Encyclopedia Destructica event, one came from a Town Talk/Radio Information Service listener, and the other two folks–I need to ask them how they heard about the project.  As a media literacy consultant and as a person with an interest in developmental psychology, I suspicion that “mirroring” the ringtone making process is important.  That’s one of the reasons I knew I had to blog.  The blog gives me a means to show and talk about the process, the people I’m meeting, the way the project gets the tones.

And the blog?  You didn’t conceptualize that component in your proposal?

No.  That came about, I’m sure, because of the work I did with artist Ines Salpico within the artist residency program at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) in February and March of this year.  I submitted my proposal to deeplocal‘s corporate residency program on Feb. 15th, and I left for ACA on the 16th.  Ines and I needed to find a way to document the manner in which we “performed text” and messages through our work at the residency, and we realized pretty quickly that a blog was the way to do it.  The day after I got back from ACA, I found out I was selected as an artist for the Old and New Media Residency program.  I knew that I had to have a means to thank those who collaborated with me and to keep them and other interested parties “posted” on what I was finding and doing and thinking about as the web infrastructure and tone distribution methods were being conceptualized in concert with deeplocal.  The blog was a no-brainer.  People can listen to the tones–and some savvy folks I know have downloaded them.  Others will have to wait (til the site and MMS system is ready, a bit later this summer, to get the tones).

How about project research?  Aside from reading America Calling, what else have you been looking into?

I wish I had more time for research–right now I’m reading Lawrence Lessig‘s fabulously enlightening (and I think important) book Remix:  Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.  Funny cause I’m pals with Mark Hosler of Negativland, and this morning I was thinking I should ask Mark if he’ll contribute a tone to Locally Toned.  Lessig interviewed Hosler for the Remix (not surprising if you know about Negativland’s book Fair Use:  The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2).  Anyhow, I did what Lessig has to say and share about Read Only (RO) and Read Write (RW) cultures.  This is important in relation to my project and important to me as a media literacy specialist.  I’m a firm believer in encouraging more public and active participation in the making of media.  Lessig notes (as others do) that up until now, motion pictures have been for most people, RO culture.  Now that folks have access to the means and tools to make and share media content, it’s turning into RW culture.  Very interesting…  I have a good deal more to read–just started it this morning.

I also read and got a good deal out of The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.  If you go to google and type in “locally toned,” my blog comes up first.  I learned how to make that happen there!

Okay–this is going on and on–we’d better wrap things up now.  Any last words?

Yes.  I’m excited about some of the tones that will be coming into the project in June–Emmai Alaquiva of Ya Momz House in East Liberty says he has some tones coming my way, and Kennywood has granted permission for me to go out and record audio with another project participant.  I’m beginning to work on a plan to get out and get interest in the project while riding public transport in Pittsburgh, and I’m part of a show at the Pittsburgh Technology Council‘s 15 Minutes Gallery on June 18th, and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust‘s Gallery Crawl on the weekend of July 17th.  In other news, I also had some ladies’ undies and t-shirts for men and women screen printed.  Get yer ladies’ undies!  Get yer t-shirts!

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deeplocal (my residency host on Fridays)

You can't hardly see the "L" in local, but I swear it's there.

You can't hardly see the "L" in local, but I swear it's there.

It’s time I introduced deeplocal–the awesome new media design firm that’s playing a major role in the project’s development.  Activist and artist Nathan Martin, CEO of the firm, took a big and important risk by hosting two artists within the Old and New Media coporate residency program because he believes everybody can win–Pittsburgh corporations artists, and the community.

Big Worktable

Big Worktable

We all sit and work together.  Dave (Chief Technology Officer, far right), Sebastian (Intern, left–and did I spell your name right?) and Dimitry (Software Engineer, right in white T-shirt) are pictured above.  I’ve never worked in this sort of environment before.  Hard to have “behind closed doors” conversations in a place like this.  I suppose that’s the point of the environment.  Here’s an artist meeting–Allen Hahn is the other artist in residence:

Nathan (left), Allen (right) and the back of Matt.

Nathan (left), Allen (right) and the back of Matt.

There are excellent views from the 6th floor of the Liberty Building.

There are excellent views from the 6th floor of the Liberty Building.

This is the deeplocal system for doing dishes.

This is the deeplocal system for doing dishes.

Matt is Senior Software Engineer for deeplocal.

Dishes, done up sparkling clean by Matt.

Dishes, done up sparkling clean by Matt.

Projection/lounge area.

Projection/lounge area.

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PRESS RELEASE: Artist Invites Pittsburghers to Make and Share Their Own Ringtones as Part of Innovative Art and Technology Project

April 23, 2009

Contact:    Teresa Foley

Pittsburgh, PA – What are the sweetest sounds to Pittsburghers, and what sounds should be turned into ringtones and made available to the public free of charge? How about a cat’s meow as the ringtone for when the veterinarian or pet-sitter calls? Someone playing scales on a saxophone for the music teacher’s call? The whistle of a steel mill, or the clang and clatter of the incline as it travels up Mount Washington? An Islamic call to prayer, or the sound of a chef chopping vegetables?
Local artist T. Foley seeks to involve individuals and groups as collaborators in designing ringtones for a public art project in Pittsburgh entitled Locally Toned, a not-for-profit venture that will provide free ringtones to the community via the project website and MMS (multimedia messaging service) distribution. Would-be participants only need ideas—the artist will provide the technical know-how and equipment. During a time of economic crisis, when ringtones range in cost from .99 to $3.00 each, Locally Toned invites Pittsburghers to create and share ringtones outside the marketplace—to identify distinct sounds for new tones beautiful to them yet usable by others. In the months of May and June, approximately 50 participants will be selected by Foley to collaborate on an original 30-second ringtone based on their submitted idea. Tones may be humorous, serious, ironic, musical, machine-based, or come from nature. Selected applicants will accompany the artist on locale to conduct field recordings that will be turned into a cell phone ringtones. Participants will be photographed for possible inclusion in project  exhibitions and archives. Tones will be made available to the public by the end of July. Foley’s work is supported within the structure of a new corporate residency program with deeplocal (a Pittsburgh-based mobile software design, development, and strategy studio) and the arts/bookmaking collective Encyclopedia Destructica. This innovative public art project “performs itself” within the airspace (which is public property for sonic transmissions), when its participants receive cellular phone calls. The application criteria and instructions follow.

Apply to Make Your Own Ringtone with Artist T. Foley

Audio content must be copyright free (i.e., original compositions or audio which exists in the natural world), and tone duration will be 30 seconds or less. Potential audio sources must have a high likelihood for being successfully and safely recorded by the artist. Tones are to be shared with others, so content should not be too personal. For example, a recording of someone’s mother on an answering machine saying, “Pick up the phone, Fred, I know you’re home!” won’t work.  But, “Pick up the phone, I know you’re home!” could work as a ringtone that many Pittsburghers might wish to own.

Selected participants will be notified by the artist by email or phone before June 15, 2009. To apply, email tfoley@deeplocal.com with the following information:







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Test Ringtone for Bob Holman (February 2009)

Holman/I’m Still Waiting Tone

Right after I submitted my proposal/application to deeplocal for their Old and New Media Residency program, I made this ringtone in Febrary of 2009, while on an airplane on my way to Atlantic Center for the Arts for their Associate Artist Residency Program.  I made it for the Master Artist I going to work with–poet Bob Holman.  I took an excerpt excerpt from Holman’s radio poem, “She Never Called Me Back.”  It’s a near perfectly ironic ringtone–Bob really liked it, but we had great difficulty getting it on his Blackberry due to memory issues (his phone was chock full of info and files).

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